The priests could not continue their work
because the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple of God.
2 Chronicles 5:14 NLT
Here and there in the entertainment world, a reference is made to the inner-monologue most of us have going almost constantly. Comedians often know how to capitalize on those quite well. At a recent concert I went to, the artist would randomly interject snippets of what he supposed our reactions were to him talking. His inner-monologue imitations of us ware spoken in lisping, valley-girl tones that said ridiculously un-filtered things. He actually wasn’t too far from the truth… well, at least in the ridiculously un-filtered aspect; maybe not the lisping, valley-girl voice. And these one-sided trains of thought occur more than just in my free time. They go on all day long in my brain.
But I know that in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 , God’s calls us to “pray without ceasing” not “inner-monologue without ceasing.” My inner-monologue should actually be an inner-dialogue. Everything I’m thinking is heard by God whether I direct it at him or not, why don’t I make a more intentional effort to converse with the Holy Spirit living inside me?
I think the biggest reason I don’t is two-fold: 1) I think I would start to *gasp* be more careful about what I let come out of my “thought-mouth” and 2) I have a hard time visualizing the divine presence I’m having a conversation with. (I tend to just picture images associated with the words I am thinking.)
Then, in my 2 Chronicles reading, I was given an answer to both my challenges. In chapter 5, Solomon has finished the Temple of the LORD and held a dedication ceremony. He had the priests and Levites move the Ark of the LORD’s covenant to it’s new home in the Temple. Once it was placed inside the inner sanctuary – called the Most Holy Place – the priests and Levites played music and sang to God in celebration. During this celebration, God shows his presence to them in the form of a cloud!
“The trumpeters and singers performed together in unison to praise and give thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, they raised their voices and praised the LORD with these words: ‘He is so good! His faithful love endures forever!’ At that moment a cloud filled the Temple of the LORD. The priests could not continue their work because the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple of God.” (2 Chronicles 5:13-14)
A cloud! This was how he showed himself to the Israelites as he was leading them out of Egypt all the way back in Exodus – as a “pillar of cloud by day.” Then, God shared the craziest [read: so obvious that I can’t believe it never occurred to me before now] idea with me. Every single day, I LITERALLY experience being so surrounded by a cloud that I cannot continue working. It’s also the time that I am at my most humble in thought and deed. AND, during that time is when I have the most transparent conversations with God and receive my MOST wise inspiration from God. How have I never noticed that my holy conversation time happens each day IN THE SHOWER?!
- It’s the time each day that I am the most exposed in every way possible, thereby naturally facilitating transparency AND humility.
- It’s the [sometimes ONLY] time each day when I tell everyone else that they have to wait and that I can’t do anything but the task at hand.
- I’m literally surrounded by a cloud of steam – a form that God himself has presented himself in more than once!
- My contacts and glasses are not accessible to me so I am ultra-focused on the things that are unseen – the things God sees.
This is SO AWESOME! I actually have a living, breathing model of healthy prayer already working in my life! Each day, I am blessed with a few minutes of being completely surrounded in a visual reminder of God’s nearness and cloud of grace – a holy fog! You know God has a sense of humor when, in a life of “messy worship,” the best conversations with him happen while I’m cleaning.
Challenge: Each day, stretch that “Holy Fog” mindset beyond the shower as long as I can manage. Even if it happens one minute at a time, if I continue to take joy in these small victories, one day it may grow to entire hours, days or even weeks and months of constant prayer!
Dear Lord, Thank you for always surrounding me, wherever I am. Thank you even more for giving me a few moments each day when I can pause and have time alone with you. Please strengthen me a little more each day so that I can intentionally pray and talk with you for more than a few moments. Let my monologues decrease as my dialogues increase in your holy fog. Amen.